House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) responded to President Obama’s news conference by acknowledging that failing to raise the federal borrowing limit would have “real” repercussions – but arguing that the consequences of failing to cut spending would are real as well.

“The American people do not support raising the debt ceiling without reducing government spending at the same time,” Boehner said in a statement. “The consequences of failing to increase the debt ceiling are real, but so too are the consequences of allowing our spending problem to go unresolved. Without meaningful action, the debt will continue to act as an anchor on our economy, costing American jobs and endangering our
children’s future.”

“The House will do its job and pass responsible legislation that controls spending, meets our nation’s obligations and keeps the government running, and we will insist that the Democratic majority in Washington do the same,” he added.

In acknowledging the risk involved in not raising the debt ceiling, Boehner strikes a different tone from the “default deniers” among congressional Republicans who have argued that the Treasury Department could prioritize its payments in order to avert default.

Less clear, however, is whether Boehner might ultimately back a proposal – such as the one put forth by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) – calling for the Treasury Department to do just that.

A recent GOP poll found that 72 percent of Americans back a proposal that includes spending cuts greater than the amount of the debt limit increase. But other polls show the public is less enthusiastic when asked about specific programs to cut.